Booking holiday accommodation online
With the introduction of low cost airlines, and the rapid growth of internet users, booking the perfect holiday has become easier for the inexperienced internet user. Gone are the days, where the only people surfing the net are techie's - welcome to the internet age, where people of all ages are now using the internet to go about their normal life.
“You look forward to your holiday all year and you want to book it easily, and save money,” says Darren, a holiday rental specialist who runs, Worldwide Holiday Homes. “If you automatically think ‘travel agent,’ you’re missing out on the internet world. Just ask the thousands of people who reserve villas, apartments and cottages through our companies website. Booking your holiday online means you can look for the best deals, and search in the comfort of your own home.”
Darren says the rise of the Internet has made it easier and more convenient to seek out and reserve a holiday home, why stay in an overcrowded hotel, when you get have the privacy that a villa holiday brings. No more shared swimming pools, instead relax in privacy within your own pool. If you’re nervous about dealing one-on-one with a holiday home owner, don’t be. Darren says that some of the nervousness is brought on by the travel agents, who advise against booking a private holiday rental, as the companies offering rentals are not ABTA bonded. Providing you get adequate travel insurance, and are cautious and follow some simple booking instructions, you can minimize the risk:
- Speak to the owner of the property, you can learn a lot about a person, and you'll probably feel much comfortable than communicating through email - which can be impersonal.
- Each property owner will have their own way of processing a booking but, as a guideline, you should expect to pay a deposit to secure the booking of between 10% - 50% of the total rental. This is normally paid either by cheque or by bank transfer and the owner should confirm the booking and receipt of your payment by letter or by e-mail.
- Check the cancellation terms with the owner at the time of booking - deposits are often non-refundable and they may have a sliding scale of charges for last minute cancellations after the balance has been paid. We recommend that you ask for any terms and conditions in writing. Make sure that you have the address and directions to the property. These are normally sent to you on payment of the balance. Some owners will send you a key in advance, some may live on site and be there to welcome you, whilst others may have a local representative or neighbour who will meet you.
- Make sure that you have the telephone number of the owner or their representative so that you can call to let them know if your arrival time is delayed. If you encounter an owner who is unwilling to talk to you on the phone, beware. You simply cannot send money to someone you’ve never spoken to. Go with your gut feeling. Take out adequate travel insurance, we would recommend that you speak to a travel insurance specialist, and explain the type of holiday you are going to book - that way your going to get the right advice, and the right level of insurance - remember that you'll pay a deposit, if for any reason your ill, or your flight is cancelled or delayed, you'll need insurance to be able to claim the deposit back.
- Don't be embarrassed to ask for testimonials from other holidaymakers, or email address / telephone number of other holidaymakers who have book the accommodation. Have a search on the internet, and see if you can "dig" up any bad feedback or reviews about the owners or property rental.
“To many this may sound time consuming,” says Darren, “Most owners, respond within 24 hours, once you have confirmation of the booking and paid the deposit, then you book your flight, and travel insurance - by leaving the travel agent out of the process, you will save money, and you have the opportunity to research the location and accommodation, before booking, compared to booking with an agent who, let's be honest is trying to get you to book quickly, for commission.”
Darren says that many travel agents are now realising the potential of the internet, our website alone, is a complete booking portal, you search for accommodation, contact the owner, and then through our travel shop you can book your flights, car hire and travel insurance. Next time your looking to book your holiday - have a search on the internet, you'll be surprised what you can find.
Darren Cronian is the writer of various articles for holiday home owners and renters. Darren also runs and owns a UK-based holiday company called Worldwide Holiday Homes
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